The Oregon-based manufacturer of reactive targets, Tannerite Sports LLC, filed a federal lawsuit against NBC Universal for airing a story that calls the company bomb-makers and a threat to national security.
Tannerite’s lawsuit against NBC claims that the show’s statements were defamatory and loaded with false assertions about Tannerite’s binary explosives. The segment, lead by NBC’s Jeff Rossen, likens Tannerite to bombs used by terrorists to kill Americans. The episode also focused on people who were injured by misusing reactive targets.
The show cited a 2013 report by the FBI investigating the possibilities of using binary target components to manufacture illegal explosives. The report’s main focus is on the regulation of ammonium nitrate, one of the components used to produce binary explosive targets. Ammonium nitrate is regulated when sold as fertilizer but has been used in the manufacturing of illegal bombs and drugs, specifically methamphetamine, the report found.
Tannerite targets are defined as “binary explosives,” meaning two components are needed to make it work, according to the definition by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Also, they cannot be detonated without a high-velocity impact, in this case, shot by a rifle. The product is made with pyrotechnic-grade components that are designed to react efficiently without producing flames. When not used for commercial applications, Tannerite targets are totally legal.
This is not the first time Tannerite has been in the spotlight. Media outlets and law-makers have used wildfires as a reason to condemn exploding targets. While some binary targets have lead to fires in dry areas, none have been linked to Tannerite products.
Other exploding targets may start fires, something Tannerite has stated comes as a result of using lower, industrial-grade ingredients. Since Tannerite holds a patent on its recipe, the company claims that other companies’ reactive targets use slightly different ingredient combinations that are often more likely to start fires.
While it’s possible for Tannerite to be misused or exploited, millions of Americans safely and legally enjoy Tannerite’s products on a regular basis.
Tannerite seeks damages from NBC for statements it says are “made maliciously, intentionally, and with reckless disregard for the truth.”